Farm minister insists U.S. beef is safe

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 11, 2012 - 19:47
  • Updated : May 11, 2012 - 19:47
Korean Agriculture Minister Suh Kyu-yong reaffirmed on Friday that the beef imported from the U.S. poses no threat to public health.

“There is no problem with the safety of U.S. beef, but the quarantine strengthening policy will continue,” Minister Suh said.

The minister made the remarks after being briefed on the report from the Korean inspection team, which returned home earlier in the day from its trip to the United States.

“After examining documents and earmark of the cow regarding the recent BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) case in the U.S., it was confirmed that the cow was 127 months old. It was also Atypical BSE found in old cows, and that the affected cow was disposed of and was not used to eat,” he said.
Delegation chief Joo Yi-seok (right) talks to an official at a briefing session on Friday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

“Considering the public’s concern and anxiety, we have decided to keep the strengthened quarantine policy for the present. We also decided to soon conduct the periodical inspection in the U.S.”

He also added that no country that imports beef from the U.S. halted imports or did quarantines.

The nine-member team led by Joo Yi-seok visited several U.S. institutions including the Department of Agriculture, the USDA federal laboratory in Iowa and a California rendering plant as well as slaughterhouses and processing plants.

Controversies linger, however, because the team failed to visit the affected California dairy farm. The team instead had a written Q&A session with the owner of the farm at the state’s USDA Service Center.

The livestock quarantine committee is a consultative body of the Agriculture Minister. A total of 14 among 21 members of the committee participated in Friday’s meeting.

The government announced a quarantine-strengthening policy soon after the latest mad cow disease broke out in California last month.

By Park Min-young  (